Friday, August 16, 2013

Ray's Reviews: Grumpy Cat and An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails

Here's a quick look at a pair of unusual books that
are likely to make you giggle, even if you're not a cat
person or a frequent drinker. They should be enjoyed
leisurely, with reading time spread over a few days.

"Grumpy Cat" (Chronicle Books, $12.95) uses an
innovative concept, featuring unusual images of a feline
that's become an internet sensation.

Subtitled "Disgruntled Tips and Activities Designed to
Put a Frown On Your Face", the slim, colorful book is
likely to make you frequently laugh out loud.

It's full of pessimistic, colorful insights by Grumpy
Cat, such as "Turn that smile upside down", "If you're happy
and you know it - get away from me", and "I got you a
present - Check the litter box."

There are also sections on "The Anatomy of a Frown",
"How to Host a Grumpy Party", and "A Grumpy Gift Guide."
The book is not just a collection of odd photos - there
are also a few connect-the-dots sections, some bizarre
mazes, and a clever crossword puzzle that just uses the word "no".

Especially creative are the images of Grumpy Cat on
worldwide monuments and as she appears on book covers,
such as "A Tale of Two Kitties" on "The Grumpy Reading List".

Grumpy Cat in real life is named Tartar Sauce, a young,
well-loved cat with dwarfism belonging to Tabatha Bundesen,
although there's no author or photographer credit provided.

A feature film, similar to Garfield, is in the works;
more information on the Grumpy Cat phenomenon is available
at the creator's website:

"An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails", by Orr Shtuhl
(Gotham Books, $20.00), is an intriguing book offering 50
classic cocktail recipes, tips and tales.

It showcases colorful, interesting illustrations by
Elizabeth Graeber, who's created many simplistic, yet
memorable graphic images.

The small hardback deftly features storytelling about
the history and background of assorted drinks, then provides
detailed recipes.

Information is prepared on many classic cocktails,
such as the Bloody Mary, White Russian, Old Fashioned,
Tom Collins, and the Manhattan.

The book also offers good advice, including hints on
The Blue Blazer (don't catch yourself on fire!), and Two
Ingredient cocktails (How to Drink at Weddings).

A useful alphabetical index is great for bartenders or
those wanting to quickly locate information about a
particular cocktail.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed books regularly since 1987.

Find these titles and other great books
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was published by the Lansing State Journal on August  11, 2013.

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